The state legislature passed a measure that'll provide additional funding for the Windermere Building Project, aimed at addressing crumbling foundation concerns.
The measure lawmakers passed pertains to the school construction portion of the budget implementation bill.
Ellington Public Schools said the new measure increases the reimbursement rate from 55.4% to 70%. This will provide the school district with just over $9 million additional dollars than expected.
This higher reimbursement rate is expected to save Ellington taxpayers money.
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"As Board Chair and former Windermere parent, I am thrilled with the progress we have made on this project in shaping it for the community. We appreciate the leadership of Mr. Greenleaf, who has a unique and extensive skill set in school construction projects, and many others who have worked to proactively address our facilities and we appreciate the State’s recognition of this ongoing concern,” said Board of Education Chair Jennifer Dzen.
The school district said the bill will make the project eligible for state funding. They're planning to submit an application to the Office of School Construction Grants and Review for consideration.
The project also gets to move forward six months earlier than previously anticipated because of this new measure.
“Advancing the schedule means our project dollars go further. This gives us
more options as we look to go from project concept to ribbon cutting," said Brian Greenleaf, Director of Finance and Operations for Ellington Public Schools.
Legislators noted there's a presence of pyrrhotite in the foundation at Windermere Elementary School. Officials decided to increase funding for this reason.
Ellington school officials said that levels of the mineral pyrrhotite in a 2002 addition are consistent with those that have caused issued with crumbling foundations in the area. They stressed that there's no immediate safety concerns.
“I’m very proud of the collaborative effort that was made both in the development of this project, as well as the pursuit of additional funding and subsidies; everyone involved in this process has worked extremely hard on behalf of our residents and taxpayers, and it’s very rewarding to work with this group of people to help Ellington grow," said First Selectman Lori Spielman.
The total cost of the project has a price tag of $29 million for taxpayers. But this price quote was before the new state measure.
“These measures have a direct impact on the Ellington taxpayers, saving them significant amounts of principal and interest in the long-term, but they also provide more flexibility to deal with unique challenges in the current construction market,” said Greenleaf.
The total cost of the project is approximately $61 million.